How to Celebrate Holy Week and Passover Virtually in the Bay Area

On Palm Sunday, Christians commenced Holy Week, which culminates on Easter Sunday. Jews are currently celebrating Passover, which began at sundown on Wednesday evening.

The reality of celebrating Holy Week from our homes instead of our respective congregations may seem glum, but our current crisis makes the true meaning of these holy days all the more apparent.

Passover represents the “passing over” of God’s chosen people from slavery, oppression and despair in Egypt, to freedom, light and hope in Israel.

For Christians, Holy Week recalls Jesus’s “passing over” from torture, rejection, defection of his closest followers, temptation to despair, his Passion and the death that first Good Friday, to life, light and victory on Easter Sunday.

For the Jews and for Christ, these events that would come to be so meaningful, were at the time, tragic and tested their faiths. They faced anguish, adversity, danger and risk. But, God came through for them.

Fear is useless; what is needed is trust.”  (Luke 8: 50; Mark 5: 36)

In this time of fear and isolation, all we can do is trust in our faith, in our community, in the heroes that are fighting on the frontlines for us every day — that we too, will get to the other side of this crisis. That soon, this virus will also pass over, and we will enter a time of great healing.

In his message ahead of Holy Week on Friday, Pope Francis said: “Thought and spirit can go far with the creativity of love.” And that is just what we have seen from churches and synagogues across the country, as they move their worship services to online platforms.

How to Celebrate Easter and Passover Virtually in Marin
Photo courtesy of Joe Pregadio / Unsplash

Many Jews are also having to get creative in the ways they arrange their seder plates and embrace technology (which for some, is usually not allowed during Passover).

Rabbis and families are hosting virtual seders, some extending their seders to family members across the world who they may have not thought to include before. And amongst the Jewish community I live in, I have heard several sentiments of “the plague didn’t stop us before!”, referring to the 10 plagues God inflicted upon the Egyptians.

While it may feel strange to celebrate during this time, these reminders of faith and resilience are what we need most.

Here are some of the local churches and synagogues in the Bay Area that are offering virtual Holy Week services:

Marin

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, San Anselmo — Live streams of Lenten 6th hour on April 8; Lenten 9th hour on April 9; and vespers and scripture for Lazarus Saturday on April 10.

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin, San Rafael — Sunday Circle on Zoom, 9 a.m.

St. Stephen’s Church, Belvedere — Easter day service livestream, 10 a.m. All Holy Week livestreams.

Congregation Kol Shofar, Tiburon — Email kolshofar.org for Zoom links to Passover services.

Rodef Sholom, San Rafael — Services on Facebook and Zoom.

St. John’s, Ross — See the full schedule of Holy Week livestreams online.

First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael — View the church YouTube channel or Facebook page.

St. Hilary Catholic Church, Tiburon — A Holy Week schedule is here with live Facebook stream times, which will be posted to the church website shortly after.

St. Patrick’s Parish, Larkspur — View the Holy Week livestream schedule here.

Community Congregational Church, Tiburon — Sunday video on the Facebook page; sing-up here for information on Zoom sessions.

St. Columba’s, Inverness — Online offerings at the virtual chapel.

San Francisco

Archdiocese San Francisco — Attend Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday service all on livestream, times vary.

Grace Cathedral — Online services include a Good Friday stream and an Easter Sunday Choral Eucharist.

Reality — Join an Easter Sunday service online, 10:30 a.m.

CornerstoneSF — Good Friday and Easter services online.

Congregation Sherith Israel — Virtual Seder and Shabbat are offered online.

National

On Easter Sunday, Italian global music icon Andrea Bocelli will also be giving a solo performance representing a message of love, healing, and hope to Italy and the world. It will be available live on YouTube.

Pope Francis will also be live-streaming Easter Mass from St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The service kicks off at 4:55 a.m. ET.

Lakewood Church, the Houston-based megachurch owned by televangelist Joel Osteen, will stream a Saturday night and Sunday morning Easter service with stars like Kanye West, Mariah Carey and Tyler Perry.

Also, arriving just in time for Holy Week, you can now stream the documentary “Holy City,” which offers immersive views of Jerusalem.


Madison Muller is a senior at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, learning to navigate the contemporary media environment with compassion and candor. She enjoys writing about health, travel, and humanity. You can always find her with a coffee in hand. Madison is a proud supporter of the National Eating Disorders Association.